Why you should care

This wacky concept will make your taste buds sing. On- or off-key.

Technology is increasingly present in our kitchens, but if you thought 3-D printed hamburgers were the height of weird, futuristic culinary innovations, brace yourself.

Introducing Beatballs, an app that turns songs into meatballs. Yes, meatballs.

Mixing together programming, design and a healthy dose of absurdity, a group of 54 students in the Interactive Art Director program at Hyper Island in Stockholm have created a way to transform music into Sweden’s most emblematic dish.

The idea is surreal and even sounds gimmicky, but its creators say it’s more than just a trick for laughs. “We think the idea of exploring how we can combine our senses within the digital world is both amazing and exciting,” says Maria Ravegård, one of the creators of Beatballs.

If the meatballs have a strange taste, maybe you should consider changing your taste of music.

 

The Beatballs code translates all sorts of music attributes to flavors, like tempo, cadence, mood and key. And it also takes into consideration the social and cultural associations of both food and music.

Synaesthesia can make for a complex algorithm, but the Beatballs Web app is very straightforward. Want to know what’s Beyoncé’s “XO” or Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” tastes like? Just enter the name of the artist or track in the search box and within seconds you have the ingredients and instructions on how to cook up the song.

A beatballs machine

Source Beatballs

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to make “Bohemian Rhapsody Meatballs” for dinner:

  • 500 g minced alligator
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dl breadcrumbs
  • 1 dl milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp cheese
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 onion (finely chopped)

Granted, your local grocer might not carry minced alligator, but the mix does seem appetizing.

Its creators hope that turning sounds into ingredients can open a whole new culinary horizon because each song is a harmonious and unique blend of flavors. Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?” is sweet and contains strawberries, “Gangnam Style” is a garlicky kangaroo combination, and AC/DC’s “Die Flöte” is a bold mix of venison with honey, mint, lemon and tomatoes.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that a song will taste gross, but Ravegård says the code has very few glitches, so “if the meatballs have a strange taste, maybe you should consider changing your taste of music.”

For those who love music more than they do cooking, Beatballs is developing the Beatballizer, a machine that mixes the ingredients, rolls the paste and cooks the meatballs for you, by just clicking “Play” on the app.

The project is looking to raise $350,000 on Kickstarter to turn its wacky idea into a startup, develop kitchen-sized Beatballizers and bring synesthetic cuisine to every home.

It’s a ballsy business model, but if it works, maybe the next step will be turning food into music. Ever wondered what lasagna sounds like?

This OZY encore was originally published Sept. 24, 2014.

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